SUNDAY: ESPN's Buster Olney tweets the Rangers are having more than internal talks and are shopping Nathan for an established hitter. Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com writes Nathan would have great value on the trade market, but most teams that would want him wouldn't be in position to part with the type of hitter the Rangers need.
SATURDAY: The Rangers have had internal conversations about trading closer Joe Nathan, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports, citing major league sources who say such a move would be aimed at taking advantage of the Rangers' deep bullpen and this year's thin relief pitching market. Nathan would immediately become the top closer on offer if the Rangers decide to shop him, Rosenthal says, placing him ahead of the Phillies' Jonathan Papelbon, who may not even be traded.
The move would open new trade possibilities for the Rangers, who have been frustrated in their attempts to acquire pieces to bolster their lineup, which ranks ninth in the AL in runs per game. After dropping 11 of their last 14 games, Texas' situation has grown more urgent, Rosenthal observes. He names the Tigers, Red Sox and Dodgers as teams known to be in the market for late-inning bullpen pieces.
Former Royals closer Joakim Soria could step into the same role for Texas, according to Rosenthal's sources, and Texas pitcher Neftali Feliz, a former closer in his own right, is also expected to return from Tommy John surgery in about a month's time. In addition, Alexi Ogando, who's currently in the rotation, could slide into a late-inning role for Texas after starter Matt Harrison returns from the DL, so the back end of the Texas bullpen could remain a strength even if they do decide to trade Nathan.
Nathan, 38, has a sparkling 1.73 ERA this year in 41 2/3 innings, posting a 9.5 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. His contract has him earning about $2.5MM on the remainder of the season and also includes a $9MM club option for next year, though Nathan can choose to void the option and become a free agent if he finishes 55 games. He has already finished 39 games this year.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.